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Chinese livestreamers' tax evasion reflects need for reform

Loopholes, ambiguous wording in existing law encourage rampant cheating

China's recent record fine on a top celebrity livestreamer signals that authorities are tightening taxation on high-income individuals. However, to close a loophole that enables tax evasion in the booming but underregulated sector, revisions to the tax system are necessary, experts say.

Huang Wei, one of the highest-earning livestreamers, known online as Weiya, was ordered to pay 1.34 billion yuan ($210 million) in back taxes, late fees and fines after tax authorities in the eastern city of Hangzhou found she avoided taxes totaling 643 million yuan in 2019 and 2020.

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